Different Ways We Can Study The Bible
One of the most important things a Christian must do is study God’s Word, and a failure to do so will lead to a lack of spiritual growth and a weaker faith. Paul told the Christians in Rome that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Our faith becomes stronger as we study the Bible. Paul knew the importance of study. He told Timothy to “continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from who you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation” (2 Tim. 3:14,15). Notice that Paul told Timothy to “continue in the things which you have learned.” Paul understood that it takes continual study of God’s Word to remain faithful and grow. That is why he also told Timothy to “study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Tim. 2:15).
We place ourselves in spiritual danger when we stop studying the Bible. God condemned Israel through the voice of Hosea when He said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee” (Hosea 4:6). Many of the Jews in the first century also had a problem due to their failure to study. They were sincere in their religion, but they were sincerely wrong. Paul described them as having “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). We must be diligent in our studies to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
Let’s examine some different ways we can study the Bible. First, we must understand that there is a difference between reading the Bible and studying the Bible. Regular Bible reading is important, but it is not the same as in-depth study. Here are some different options to consider.
1. Get involved in the congregation’s Bible classes. Many of us limit our study to the time we spend in our Sunday and Wednesday night Bible classes. Study the material you are learning in class at home before you go. You will also retain much more of the material if you review what you have learned during the class later at home. Take good notes and organize them in a notebook for later reference.
2. Conduct your own expository Bible study. Decide on a certain text that you would like to study in-depth. It could be a few verses or a whole chapter. Go through the text verse by verse and write down several key points you learn from each verse. You can then search for other scriptures that elaborate on the points you wrote down.
3. Conduct your own topical Bible study. Decide on a specific topic that you would like to study about. Use a topical Bible, concordance, or commentary to locate all the other passages in the Bible that are related to your topic. This is very effective way to study, because it teaches us to harmonize the Scriptures.
4. Get organized and equipped. Purchase some three ring binders, and get dividers so you can make space in them for information on specific Bible books or Biblical topics. Keep track of your notes and handouts from Bible classes by filing them in the binders. You may also consider buying a good concordance and Bible dictionary. Commentaries are good to have as well, but remember that not all commentaries are written by members of the Lord’s church and some of them can be misleading. -Ed